Thursday, July 13, 2023

Rowel Friers' endpapers and interior illustration for "The Obstinate Ghost"

I still need to get around to a full essay on the dandy 1960s ghost/folklore books by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd. In the meantime, this post features some of the superb artwork by their illustrator, Rowel Friers (1920-1998). Shown above are Friers' endpapers illustration and his illustration for "Billy Bates's Story" from the 1968 collection The Obstinate Ghost and Other Ghostly Tales. Don't we all wish we grew up in a neighborhood with a house like that? Or lived in one now?

Friers was a cartoonist, painter, illustrator, set designer and actor. For a story on his funeral service in 1998, Neil Johnston of the Belfast Telegraph wrote:
"The church was packed with representatives from the arts, music, drama, newspapers and television. ... All of them referred to his humanity, his generosity of spirit, his charm, his talent as an artist, his work for charity, particularly Cystic Fibrosis, and the devastating way in which he used his gift for cartoons to attack pomposity, political cant, and sectarian bigotry wherever he saw it."
It seems that providing illustrations for children's books was just a minor side job for Friers, but we should be very glad it happened and that his contributions to these Palmer/Lloyd books exist.

Other endpapers illustrations

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